In Which Direction did My Rain Go?

Before I came to America I never thought about directions in relation to the compass. In New Zealand I never said going North for instance, I would say I am going up to Auckland. Intellectually I knew the sun rose in the East but I did not put that together with an East Facing window. That was just where the sun rose. I never made the choice to think about it being East.

Did that sentence even make sense?

To get to Christchurch meant travelling in a Southern direction. But I would say I am off to catch the ferry then driving down to Christchurch. South was down, North was Up. East and West were across; if you go too far across you end up in the sea.

Here is the rural US they say Drive North for 10 miles then turn East into 1800. (Or something). It is all very sensible.

( I remember when I lived in London being told everywhere else was down because London was at the top – as in: I am going Up to London. Never; I am going up to Kent. I don’t know if that was true or just someone pulling the foreigners leg. But that does make me wonder if people in the UK use points of the compass as much as they do here in the US.

Which brings me to my present thought. My desk faces North. I look straight out the big French doors past the house deck and out to the North.

And watch all these rain clouds pass us by.

Midwest sky. Midwest clouds. Flat country. Wheat fields in the foreground. Grey and white clouds above.

Then I go outside and shoot East or South. Should I be telling you which direction I am shooting? My direction for the above shot is out to the South.

Does this help you feel a sense of Place?

Midwest sky. Midwest clouds. Flat country. Cow fields with fences in the foreground. Grey and white clouds above.

This one is to the East.

Midwest sky. Midwest clouds. Flat country. Wheat fields with two chairs and a table in the foreground. Grey and white clouds above.

South again.

We are surrounded in open ground to the North, South, East and West. The asparagus fields are to my East.

I think that childhood changed into adulthood with such speed that I was not even conscious of thinking about stuff. I must have though right? Which is why this blog is so important t me – it is where I store those thoughts that I never really thought about before.

The very nature of writing well forces one to stare at the page for a while and work out a sentence before writing it down.

Who does this when they are talking – we just talk right? Or do you think before you speak?

Big Jude. Mature Hereford hog. Sitting behind fence. Looking at camera with one eye.

Do you think that animals have an inner compass. We know birds do. And dogs. They all know where bed is and where their feeding spot is. Ton has lost his compass completely – when we walk he keeps walking straight until I send Boo out to turn him. He just walks right past the drive – every time. Boo and I have turned into the driveway but Ton just keeps going straight. At a fast clip.


Rescue pot belly, peacock, roosters and ducks walking to the feed shed in  anticipation of dinner.

WaiWai’s compass takes him straight to the back step in the morning. And the feed hut in the afternoon. The rest of the time, like Ton, he is resting in his bed.

Wai comes into the feed shed when I am working in there and just quietly watches. Navigating the step up into the little hut takes some thought and he has no intention of doing it twice so comes in and he just waits quietly. He is determined not to be sent back outside. He will stand waiting like that for minutes at a time using mental telepathy to send me hungry thoughts – Feed Me. He is quite still. Quite focussed on getting his message across. He knows perfectly well that that kind of well mannered behaviour is always rewarded with a little bit of everyone else’s dinner.

Then when I shut the door he will race after me, calling out – slow down, slow down, as I walk to his own barn door to fill his own bowl with his proper feed.

This pig does not suffer from hunger at all.

Plus he has to stay light or his broken body will not carry his big head which houses his big brain anymore.


Another cold spell is ahead of us now.

Weather April 22 6.30 am

Do you have days where you are struggling with a concept and so you can’t think of anything else until that question has been answered, the words have been found – allowing you to move on.

I am having a day like that.

I know I can think of more than one thing at once. But this one thing is like a cloud in my head that refuses to rain. It is just hovering in there – and must be allowed the time to sort itself out into logical pieces.

Oo it just got darker, we went down a stop, maybe we will get a little rain – that would make it so much easier to prepare the asparagus beds – the ground is so hard.

Now I can hear the rain coming across the wheat. This land is so open. I can hear weather coming. I hope it reaches us.

Have a lovely day


PS – Yes! I was right – just as I went to push Publish the rain arrived!

38 Comments on “In Which Direction did My Rain Go?

  1. Wow, love the weather view and even living here my whole life, I still am stumped by cardinal directions. Just give a a good landmark to look out for and I’ll find my way )

  2. I think Londoners do think of compass points in relation to travel. There’s North, South, East and West London. Buses and Tubes state which direction they are going in. Similarly, there’s a North and South divide relative to the Thames. Similarly, there are North and South Circular Roads. London Post Codes relate to points on the compass too.
    If one is going to the North of England, it’s going up (“oop”) North. Cornwall and Devon are in the West Country.
    I’ve had a compass since I was about 5 and the Cubs and Scouts taught us map reading.
    I love the picture of the table and chairs in a field – I meant to mention a different picture of them the other day!

    • I did not realise that the Postal Codes were points on a compass. That would have made them easier for me to understand! I love the table and chairs in the wheat field too – I am trying to find the perfect shot for the landing page of our new site.

      • Ha ha the table and chairs sound perfect for the front page!
        There used to be an element of direction in the phone numbers too, though not points of the compass. In the old days, when London was 01 – the next 3 numbers indicated the area and telephones had 3 letters next to all the numbers. Before I was 10 we lived in Finchley and the numbers were 346, which was FIN. In the 80s, as more people neded telephone numbers, they introduced 071 for inner and 081 for outer London. Later they needed even more numbers and they moved to 0207 and 0208. Now there’s even an 0203, which I think just relates to being a new number…

  3. Those clouds are amazing. How you find the time to take these pictures AND blog AND look after all your animals is totally beyond me! Wai Wai stories are one of the highlights of my day.
    Yes you were told correctly about the direction of London, it is always “up” wherever you are coming from!

    • I don’t have a TV. That is what I think anyway. Though just lately I have started watching Netflix (with a friends account) – but I still use the time to fix my images ready for the morning. It is cold today – my typing fingers are chilled!

  4. I think I’ve always had a compass in my head, I may be absolutely rubbish at knowing how much time has passed but I seem to able to tell you where is north without thinking about it. This got me into a lot of trouble when I lived south of the equator for a few years, I was upside down.

    • That is a real talent I think – out here I am fine but when I get into a city I have NO idea which direction is where. But in NZ I know where I am. Maybe it is a homing thing.

    • I think I have too, Caroline. I could always tell by the sun or my inner compass like yours. And I was pretty good at directions & not getting lost. Living near the lake in Chicago or the ocean in South Florida on grids was very easy. Winding streets in Paris were not disorienting if you remembered where the Seine was, but I did get mixed up a time or too when first moving to the mtns where the roads curve around them. Like Daniel Boone, “I’ve never been lost, just bewildered once”, not for 4 days as he was though. And I’ve never been below the equator, sadly.

  5. Before I moved to Eastern Canada I always knew the direction. Mountains were my compass. Always in the west and everything would just settle around them. I miss the mountains. My homing point. I envy people like Caroline who always know. My sister is like that.

    Hearing weather coming is a treat. Can you smell it too? I can always smell it. How that is I have no idea?

  6. These are such important points to ponder over:

    “I think that childhood changed into adulthood with such speed that I was not even conscious of thinking about stuff. I must have though right? Which is why this blog is so important t me – it is where I store those thoughts that I never really thought about before.”

    I wonder if we think in levels more short term as child? Things tend to be immediate in a young persons world. There may be nothing more than the moment.

    “The very nature of writing well forces one to stare at the page for a while and work out a sentence before writing it down.”

    I read and re-read and contemplate then write what I think I mean, only to often toss the entire thing and restart.

    “Who does this when they are talking – we just talk right? Or do you think before you speak?”

    I realized a while back that I was not only not thinking before I spoke but also not listening to what was being said. I am trying really hard to do both more often. Listening has given me the ability to think about what I really want to say before saying something I might regret…

    • I think we all need to listen more – but lately I feel like I need to take notes with people who talk so much and I have to correct some of the statements or the work will be all wrong but they do not even breathe so I can pop in to say – not white – I meant Cream!! Or whatever.

      • Oh I have been there a lot. I wonder perhaps if minds are already settled where they want to be and so the words just rush on endlessly so as to avoid hearing what they would rather not…

  7. Hi Celi. Would you like some of our rain? It has been raining steadily for the last three days here in Wellington. Lovely photos of my favourite pig. I hadn’t noticed before how big his head is. Is this particular to the breed?

  8. Whoa, it seems like Spring sprung overnight around here!!! After our most recent rains the leaves on the trees seemingly doubled and tripled in size! I want to scream out, “Wait, not so fast!” so that I can have more time just watching them unfurl. Crazy, huh? Especially after waiting for Spring for what seems a very long time. I guess I just want a slow, extended Spring so that we may luxuriate in the green growth. I LOVE your cloud pictures! Something else I spend time just staring at against a beautiful blue sky.

  9. I love this sentence. “Which is why this blog is so important t me – it is where I store those thoughts that I never really thought about before.” That’s pretty much the whole essence of blogging, I think. Thanks for summing it up. 🙂

    • Hi There Jan! I think we underestimate the importance of documents like blogs. It is where we really are able to explore our own work and have genuine conversations with our readers. c

  10. I love being to hear and see a rain band approaching… such a dynamic connection to nature, along with the comfort of my inner compass which seems to instinctively orient me.

  11. Much of the midwest where I grew up is laid out in a grid. It was natural to speak of north as up and south as down. East and west were over. Iowa has a very large gridded roadway system every mile. I read that the total drivable miles in Iowa is more than the entire interstate highway mileage of the US. Most of it takes you up, down, and over in the state.

  12. I think what Deb said (“I realized a while back that I was not only not thinking before I spoke but also not listening to what was being said.”) is very true for many people. It does though make it hard to interject a comment into a conversation since often the conversation has traveled on by the time the thinking person has got their act together.

    • YES! We end up just thinking and there really is no conversation at all just one person held captive by a person who does not seem to need to take a breath!

  13. I ‘feel’ North no matter where I am…not sure why. As a child we were also taught that if you lose your way in the forest – look where the moss/lichen is growing at the base of deciduous trees. Always on the north side.
    Around here we say ‘I’m going ‘down’ to the coast’ although the coast is really to the West. I think it’s because the coast being at sea level, is ‘down’ from my elevation. If I head to Alberta (East) I always say ‘over’ the pass because one has to drive over the Rocky Mountain range to get there. I think our directional terms likely have roots in where we’re located. 😊

    • Now that is an interesting and very logical interpretation of going down somewhere. Going down to sea level. You are very right – our locations and the local vernacular has a lot to do with our directions. That thing with the moss is such a good thing to remember. Though I never can remember it!

  14. As always I love having an update on WaiWai. This morning I found the discussion on directions in the comment section intriguing. I love the smell and sensations of oncoming rain, the air changes. It must be wonderful to see it approaching over the fields. They say plants can communicate and they have recorded the sounds of them needing water, they have even surmised that some insects and animals can hear them. “Plants do not suffer in silence. Instead, when thirsty or stressed, plants make “airborne sounds”, according to a study published today in Cell.” So do they somehow make sounds as the rain approaches? On a visceral level do we hear them?

    Are you listening with your whole heart and mind if you are preoccupied with deciding what to say next? It’s a question I have grappled with. It does tend to make you very quiet. And you do lose out on voicing your own opinion. But it can deepen a conversation when your attention is entirely on the other person.

    As far as directions, I am always confused when Google tells me to turn south or north.

  15. That is interesting about the plants making sounds. I do believe that trees communicate – maybe even through their roots. Terrible that they might cry out when short of water though – the glass house must have been deafening the other day when it go too hot in there!

  16. I think (and it may not be *generally* true, more a local North Queensland thing) that here, people say “over/across to Somewhere” or “down the valley” or “out to Place” rather than give compass directions. They’ll tell you to head towards somewhere and turn left, or something similar. Possibly it’s because the roads here tend far more to follow the landscape rather than in straight grid lines, and directions follow landmarks for that reason. It makes sense if your landscape *has* landmarks!

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